Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious—and maybe a little obsessed—about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”
2015 brings new changes to The Balance Project! First, my second book, THE BALANCE PROJECT: A NOVEL, will be published in April. It’s women’s fiction and it was inspired by these interviews. More about that here. Second, in preparation for the launch and because these interviews have received such tremendous response, I will publish new interviews two or three times per week, not just on Fridays. Thank you for your continued support!
No. 40: Towanda Long, Marketing Communications Specialist
Where I live: Charlotte, NC
Job: Marketing Communications Specialist and Blogger
Kids: Three girls ages 5, 6, and 8
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I’ve worked in corporate communications for over a decade, but I have changed companies. I lived in New Jersey when my first and second daughters were born. We moved to North Carolina between my second and third child. The quality of our living is better here. Of course there’s the beautiful weather, but it also helps to be in driving distance of my parents and sister. They help a lot with childcare during the summer and school breaks.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think “having it all” is realistic, as long as each person defines what her “all” looks like. I want a happy family, a fulfilling career, and time with awesome people. I try to make decisions based on these things, not what society or someone else tells me it should look like.
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I think I’m pretty good at balance, not because I have everything figured out, but because I honor flexibility. I also honor the fact that I’m not perfect, life’s not perfect and at the end of the day, the best thing I can do is try my best with the time and resources I have available.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Cheering on other moms as they define what their balance looks like!
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance…
From a mentor/co-worker? “Choose how you spend your time wisely and don’t let money be the only deciding factor. Trust your intuition when prioritizing.”
From your mother? “Your kids are only young once, enjoy every moment.”
From your kids? In their words, “You’re the best mommy ever!”
If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Reading and writing for fun. I love doing both, so it would be nice to have a dedicated hour each day.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
Take advantage of the positive opportunities presented. This is the easiest time to live in different places, try different things, and broaden life experiences.
What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
What I want to be when I grow up. Right now I feel like I’m on the journey, and I’m liking the journey.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Cooking! I don’t mind cooking, but I would LOVE to come home to a home-cooked meal every day.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Teacher. Each time I volunteer at my kids’ school, I am reminded of how saintly teachers are and how our society greatly undervalues what they do every day.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown.
What are you reading right now?
Get Unstuck, Be Unstoppable: Step into the Amazing Life God Imagined for You by Valorie Burton and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Activity? Socializing! I love spending time with people, having conversations, and learning. It is truly food to my soul.
Food? Chocolate. I am a confessed chocoholic and I’m okay with that.
Website? Facebook and Twitter. I love the mix of business and personal. Where else can you see beautiful kid photos next to world news?
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
7. I am no good if I don’t get enough sleep, so that’s a top priority for me.
What do you read every morning?
My Twitter feed. It’s the best way to get world news, industry news, parenting info, and entertainment in one place.
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am a good person. I strive to be better every day, and to be a light to others.
I wish I: spent more time hand writing cards and notes. There is something beautiful about receiving personal mail. Email will never take the place of that.
My kids: make me happy to be their mom! I feel so blessed to have my princess trio.
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
Life is a gift, live passionately.
Towanda is a corporate communications and public relations professional, living in Charlotte, NC. She is mommy to three beautiful girls, wife to a pretty cool guy, and part of an awesome circle of family and friends. She blogs about managing motherhood, work, and life at Queenocracy.com.
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 1: Jessica Mindich, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 2: Veronica Beard, Fashion Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 3: Emily Liebert, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 4: Lyss Stern, Mom-trepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 5: Lauren Slayton, Nutritionist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 6: Elizabeth Moyer, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 7: Annabel Monaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 8: Holly Gordon, Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 9: Jill Salzman, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 10: Jennifer Levinson, Jen’s List
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 11: Jenny Hutt, Media Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 12: Angela Santomero, Kids’ Media Creator
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 13: Carola Donato, Yogi
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 14: Tiffany Washington, Pastry Designer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 15: Emily Giffin, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 16: Alana Sanko, Writer
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 17: Cara Lemieux, Journalist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 18: Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke, Authors
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 19: Nikki Mark, Author & Foundation Director
Shonda Rhimes on Doing It All
Indra Nooyi on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 21: Jill Bryan, Comedian
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 22: Cindy Callaghan, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 23: Stephanie Hirsch, Artist
My Times of India Interview on Work-Life Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 24: Whitney Dineen, Author/Baker
AmEx’s Sobbott on Balance
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 25: J0-Laine Duke-Collins, Dessert Stylist
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 26: Whitney English, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 27: Jennifer Gooch Hummer, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 28: Melissa Amster, Book Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 29: Nigel Marsh, Author and Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 30: DayNa Decker, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 31: Amy Selling, Blogger
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 32: Heather Sonnenberg, Entrepreneur
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 33: Allison Winn Scotch, Author
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 34: Bibi Kasrai, Entrepreneur and Chef
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 35: Karen Sutton MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 36: Samantha Ettus, Balance Expert, Author, TV/Radio Personality
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 37: Pam Yudko, Holistic Health and Transformational Coach
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 38: Nancy Huang, Nonprofit Outreach Director
THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 39: Mary Laura Philpott, Writer, Editor and Illustrator